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STAR WARS - Flogging a Dead Horse

24 March 2012, 10:45

I recently saw my first STAR WARS movie in a theatre, in 3D of all formats!

STAR WARS Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace has just completed its rounds here in the Singapore theatres, and I made sure I didn’t miss my chance to enjoy STAR WARS on the big screen.

I think, by now, I’ve gone too far to retract the fact that I am a STAR WARS fan. It has been a love / hate relationship for about the last 10 years. 

But don’t get your hopes up: I won’t be doing a review of a film that screened back in 1999, and which subsequently reignited the worlds interest in STAR WARS and spawning a new generation of light-saber-wielding aficionados, most of whom will only lose their virginity in their mid to late twenties.

STAR WARS combines all things nerdy and geeky (save for theodd bug collection… no scrap that—there are bug-like creatures in STAR WARS) into a futuristic Wild-West film set against a backdrop of stars, planets, andgalaxies. 

Back in 1971 (no I was not there, yet), the original STAR WARS – A New Hope shot from obscurity to international acclaim in the span of a few short weeks. Pop culture and the young and impressionable minds of the 1970’s would never again be the same.

For those who have never seen a STAR WARS movie or simply don’t know much about these movies or where they came from, let me give you a brief history lesson.

George Lucas is the man (some say genius) behind the STAR WARS phenomenon. He is the all-American guy. He nearly lost his life in a car accident, has a degree in Zoology, showed great promise as a film academy student, and even lived to give the big wigs of the movie industry the fat billion dollar finger! 

When you lay eyes upon the man you soon realise that no other face could ever be associated with something like STAR WARS. George Lucashas it all, the wavy hair, the coarse looks, the quirky voice, and those enormous spectacles. A fellow geek in uniform and the one who made a small partof the nerds’ obscure world not only profitable but also popular!

The original STAR WARS – A New Hope was later renamed Episode IV (that’s 4 to the roman numerally challenged) and was succeeded by two more movies— STAR WARS Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and STAR WARS Episode VI – Return of the Jedi — both of which received as much attention as thefirst movie and continued to make George Lucas one of the most successful moviedirectors of all time.

I find it somewhat a sign of mild obsessive fascination withSTAR WARS and its creator that I can recite all this purely from memory.Perhaps I am becoming one of ‘those’ STAR WARS fans.

By enumerating the STAR WARS movies in the way he did, George Lucas made no attempt to hide the fact that there would one day be more STAR WARS to come. Episodes I, II and, III were almost assured, and there are even to this day reports that George Lucas actually intended to make nine movies altogether.

If ever in your life you were a fan of something. I mean atrue fan. Then I think you can relate to the absolute euphoria that over took the STAR WARS camp when George Lucas made the announcement, in the mid 1990’s, that STAR WARS Episode I was going green!

I have to be honest: I missed the entire damn buildup. I vaguely recall getting a Jawa Sand crawler toy with my KFC meal, and I knew what STAR WARS was and I could feel the ‘enormity’ of the event. 

But back then I could barely appreciate a simple cartoon; I had seen all the STAR WARS movies, but I was too young or too retarded to really have become an obsessive fan (that would take another 6 years of mental maturing before I would finally‘get’ STAR WARS on a near obsessive level).

But I will now cease the journalistic and cliché-ridden language that I’ve been using thus far. Now the gloves come off—and to hades with the rules!

What I will now relate in first-person perspective is merely what I have gathered and memorized over the last ten years from STAR WARS fans, STAR WARS forums, and STAR WARS documentaries strewn all over the world. The hive mindedness of the STAR WARS fraternity enables me to speak on their behalf, as if I were part of the event myself.

When EP1 hit the cinemas, most STAR WARS fans shouted in rapturous joy, ITS FINALLY HERE! There were light saber battles in the queues outside every cinema. Fans were dressed up in costume and represented almost every creature found in the STAR WARS universe. People were camping outside thetheatres, weeks in advance, just to get tickets to the big event. 

There hasnever been nor ever will be another buildup of this magnitude— at least not forthe launch of a movie.

The mock fights and endless recitals of lines from themovies carried on as the lucky first few entered the cinema and took theirseats. Trumpets!!!!!Daaamdaaa, da dadadaaadaaaaa… EPIC X EPIC to the power of EPIC!!!!!!!!

You were now the proud bearer of what we call in Afrikaans,`n kaasbroek (a cheesepants)!

This moment is so EPIC that most people stopped breathing…in came the infinity scroll…


Episode I

The Phantom Menace…

…and it was downhill from that point on.

Every STAR WARS fan watching the silver screen, at that historical moment in time, will attest to horrifying sound they heard as the stitching in their wallets snapped while George Lucas raped every dollar-and-cent’s worth from the STAR WARS franchise!

No amount of self-deceit, even religious proportions ofself-deceit, could keep STAR WARS fans from the startling realization. The second coming was finally happening ………………. and on the throne sat a skinny little black man—oh the horror!

The disbelief at what graced the screen was mortifying and left an eerie silence that did not end until the first interviewers outside the theatre grabbed disillusioned STAR WARS fans to get their comments.

At that moment, EP1 was a thing we all felt inclined to say was tasteful beyond its flavour, purely out of respect for GL and the STAR WARS franchise. 

Nobody wanted to admit it aloud. I mean, perhaps we were simply too hyped up to appreciate the splendor and awe that was STAR WARS Episode I.

Batches of fans rushed into the cinema’s, blinded to the somber, and sometimes whimpering faces that left the cinema only minutes earlier. They all came out looking like the first lot. It was a sad day to be a STAR WARS fan.

I’ve said very little about the movie at this stage, because I think those who’ve seen it won’t need clarification, and those who have notseen it, should experience first-hand the horror of having their ankles bent upover and behind their heads—whilst GL does his thing. It is a rite of passage,or maybe the stretching of one that really drives home the realization thatyour childhood forcibly been ripped from your person, and defiled in front ofyour very eyes.

To many a nerd, STAR WARS was their first love, and even their first lover. Not in the literal sense, (unless you were a hot chick dressed up as princess Leia at a STAR WARS convention, and you had a thing for nerds), but it was their first love affair with something that had a semblance of a human in it. 

The original STAR WARS took us to a candle-lit dinner, entertained us for hours, took us home in a shiny speeder and made love to us till the sun rose. It was surreal, blissful, even heavenly. Whereas the prequels were adrunken and smelly thug that threw us onto the cold floor, slammed the doorshut behind him, and then had his way with us right there and then—violently,painfully, and without even so much as a semblance what he was 28 years earlier.

Even worse is when you realise the poker was a dildo-esque puppet called JAR JAR BINKS, who talks like this, ‘mesa think yousa be okidayynow, ha!’

In the beginning of 2012, George Lucas made a statement,‘I’m done,’ he said. ‘I done with making these movies, I’m done with ILM, andI’m retiring,’ he added. He continued, ‘I have decided not to make more STARWARS movies because pretty much everyone hates me for the prequels. 

They sayI’m a bad person and that I ruined their childhood. Look, if I am going to havemy name associated with something, I want it to be the way I envisioned it.’

-         I’m loosely quoting Geroge Lucas, of course.

So as I watched EP1 in the cinema, in 3D, noting all the senseless digital crap that George has somehow managed to fit into the already digital mess that is EP1—I realized that STAR WARS is now well and truly dead, even for me. This is as far as the boat goes folks. Whether your ride was nauseating, joyful, or a bit of both, that is all you are going toget. The big man has spoken.

Dear George Lucas, thank you for the best and the worst. You delivered a cinematic dish that could be called a heavenly steak, with a turdish sauce.

STAR WARS has been a part of my life, probably for all of mylife. It’s reached obsessive levels for me in the last 5 years, to the pointthat I even listen to—you guessed it—STAR WARS radio, but I am now able to burySTAR WARS as I watch each of these films, one at a time, in 3D digitalsplendor, one last time.

I am only glad I never did what so many a STAR WARS nerd did: waste a fortune on STAR WARS merchandise, or lose myself to obsessive figurine collecting fits, or drag my name through the mud by walking around ina Darth Vader suit in broad daylight, or even killing and dismembering aTREKKIE (Star Trek fan).

We STAR WARS fans have paid the ultimate price for ourtrust. The hand that gave us our very first ticket to dream, was the one that later molested us and cleaned us out.

Thank you George Lucas, I hope that as you sit at your ranch and watch the sunset that you are finally pleased with yourself. Were you not the one who said ‘Special effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an end to themselves. 

A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing’? How the hell do you then go from that wisdom to the prequel trilogy?

One wonders what the original STAR WARS would have been like if you really had the level of control over the final production, as you finally enjoyed after starting your own film industry free from criticism and liability. Perhaps the original STAR WARS trilogy would have been just another special effect fuckup that you could always brush off as something made forkids.

In the making of parts of the prequel DVDs, It is painfully evident that you are surrounded, not by professionals who challenge you and themselves to raise the bar, but by fans who laugh hysterically at your every CRAP JOKE. 

Fans who stand around,pillarized by presence of ‘the maker’ and praying that you give them a nod as you pick the head of Jar Jar from the intricately made set of latex gungan headmodels your elves had been slaving over for the last month.

Thanks for the memories George. Thanks for STAR WARS, and thank you for making millions of fans wake up and smell the Banthapoodoo! Nowmaybe some of those nerds can go and meet a member of the opposite sex and moveon with their lives.

Divorce is strong with this generation—we will divorce ourselves from you and your crack and we’ll live out our remaining days making our own versions of the movies. We call them FAN FILMS! Oh yeah, and George, we own the extended universe too. So take that!

DISCLAIMER – I wish to state that this piece is anamalgamation of NUMEROUS opinions in Star Wars fandom. In no way do I betray my own feelings, opinion, even though I write as if I am part of the clutch of offended fans. So before someone prays for me, or shake their head and say I need to get a life, realize that this is article is FICTION!

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